At its worst, politics descends into a battlefield on which good words are battered and mangled for partisan advantage. Currently none have been more abused than “lying,” “truth” and “fact.”
Among leading politicians, President Donald Trump has few rivals in his disregard for truth. His facts principally derive from a combative egocentrism. He uses words as weapons, rather than tools for perceiving reality. As a result, his relationships are ruptured and his thoughts border on self-delusion, from which rescue seems improbable.
The president’s rhetorical style is equivalent to the language and logic of street fighting, blurting out whatever at the moment he thinks will inflict an injury and gain an advantage. Thereby, his truth wanders across the red line of honesty into the territory of lying. When so degraded, politics become dangerous and diplomacy ends in disaster.
Truth must accommodate factual evidence. And facts are no more authentic than the care with which they are extracted from objective inquiry. Only then is truth viable and falsehood avoided. But Trump does not care to find out. Instead, he takes vociferousness for veracity and repetition for truth.
The great irony of the Trump administration will be he who cried “lying” the loudest was found to have lied the most. With this in mind, will there be anything more fake than the pretense of greatness? This is not a legacy to be proud of.